Durum acreage down in ND | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Durum acreage down in ND

Jul 10, 2019

North Dakota producers have planted a lot less durum this year.

The North Dakota Wheat Commission reports durum acres fell to 750,000 – the lowest since 2011.

Wheat Commission marketing director Jim Peterson said it stands to reason.

"Typically, producers need $1 to $1.50 a bushel premium to grow durum over spring wheat," Peterson said. "That's primarily because of the quality risk."

Peterson said durum has a higher quality threshold to make milling quality.

"That just hasn't been there in the last couple of years," Peterson said.

Peterson also said international demand for durum has slowed.

"And from producers themselves, they have a fair amount of inventory sitting in the bin from last year's crop," Peterson said.

Peterson said Canada is also flooding the US market with durum.

"Fifty to 60 percent of our domestic mill grind is Canadian durum," Peterson said. "That's caused a lot of frustration with producers and elevators who are trying to compete. It's just been a very tough haul."

But Peterson said Canadian growers are also scaling back durum acreage.

Another issue is durum faces deep discounts, if there are quality issues.

"Some of the durum was fetching only $3 per bushel if it had quality issues," Peterson said. "Compare that to spring wheat, which was $4.50 to $5 this winter."

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